The Kickstarter Of DesignMarch: DesignTalks Is Here To Spark A Conversation - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The Kickstarter Of DesignMarch: DesignTalks Is Here To Spark A Conversation

The Kickstarter Of DesignMarch: DesignTalks Is Here To Spark A Conversation

Published March 22, 2019

Aliya Uteuova
Main photo by
Art Bicnick

We may not realise it, but design is in everything we do. The clothes we wear, the beds we sleep on, the food we opt for at a convenience store—everything we see and touch has been crafted by someone else.

DesignTalks kicks off DesignMarch, and whether it’s fashion, furniture, sustainability, or life on Mars you’re interested in, you cannot miss the day long conference.

The only way is up

“It is a massive dose of inspiration,” says Hlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir, the curator of DesignTalks. She has directed the event since 2015, and every year the conference day is like Christmas Eve for her. “I feel like a kid, clapping my hands. I can’t wait to indulge and have my mind exploded,” she explains excitedly.

To Hlín Helga, planning DesignTalks is like weaving a tapestry. She searches for people, selects topics and aligns dates in hopes of putting together something inspiring. “When you start to talk to speakers, the tapestry starts to take form,” she says.

From a talk on the planning of zero emission buildings presented by Snøhetta’s senior architect Kristian Edwards, to the future of space habitation explored by Michael Morris, the shakers and the movers of the design industry are bound to get you thinking.

“We all need to somehow crack this situation and save this planet.”

“The speakers will inspire us all to do meaningful work, and to do what we can to save this planet and ourselves,” Hlín Helga explains. “I’m not here to say that design is going to save the world, I’m just saying that everybody counts and all the disciplines need to work together. We all need to somehow crack this situation and save this planet.”

The theme of this year’s DesignTalks is ‘the only way is up.’ “We cannot really press the undo button,” Hlín Helga says. “We can’t go back, we definitely don’t want to sink to the bottom of the ocean, so really, the only way is up.”

Old problems, new solutions

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir will kick off the event. Afterwards, ten local and international speakers in the disciplines of fashion, architecture and a vast spectrum of other design-related topics will speak to an audience of roughly 700 people.

“We often talk about old problems and new ways of solving them,” Hlín Helga says in regards to previous DesignTalks. “But there’s still room to discuss that. We can talk about reinventing institutions, systems, services, but at the same time, try to serve these colossal challenges.”

“I’ve often heard people say they come for a specific speaker, but get inspired by someone whom they didn’t know,” Hlín Helga says. “Just take the leap and come.”

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